divendres, 15 de març de 2013

Judicial system in Israel

What is considered a crime

Since the year 1967, 750.000 palestinians have been detained under the israeli military orders, which represent the 20% of the population and the 40% of the total male palestinian.
The arrest and detention are administered by different military regulations, which can be divided in five kinds of offenses: "Hostile Terrorist Activity", disturbance of public order, criminal offense, illegal presence in Israel and traffic offenses. These categories are very broad, and lead to a criminalization of the palestinian civic life. Carrying a palestinian flag can be considered a crime, as well as participating in a demonstration, or pouring coffee for a member of a declared illegal association.

Detention and trial

There are two military courts were palestinians can be tried. Not all the arrested are prosecuted in the military courts, some are released and others are administratively detained without trial. It has been seen that 99,74% of the ones who are charged, are convicted. Israel also brakes the international law by not guaranteeing certain fundamental fair trial rights: the right to prompt notice of criminal charges, the right to prepare an effective defense, the right to trial without undue delay, the right of interpretation and translation and the presumption of innocence.

Between the different kinds of detention, administrative one is quite controversial. It allows the israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on "secret information" without charging them or allowing them  to stand trial. This can last for six months, having infinite renewable periods.

Militar courts are military officials or reservists. The majority of the judges had not long periods of judicial training, and many of them had served as military lawyers. The prosecutors are Israeli soldiers, designed to this position by the Area Commandant.
Under the military orders, a palestinian can be retained without charges during a period of 90 days. This period can be extended to 90 more days. However, an israeli can only be retained 30 days, with the possibility of prolonging 3 times 15 days.

Detainees are spread around 19 prisons, but only one is not located in Israel, which is in direct contravention with the Geneva Convention, which states that the Occupying Power must detain residents in prisons inside the occupied territory.


Torture is considerated systematic and generalized. A broad majority of the detainees, including children, denounce having been kicked, received threats and having their homes illegally registered. Other methods during the interrogatory period are also well-known, as sleep deprivation, physical pain, incommunicatio or hygiene lack.

*Thanks to Adameer, Prisoner Suport and Human Rights Association, for the information

Anna Pérez Català

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